CW44 News At 10 – As health officials in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties wrap up week one of COVID-19 vaccine distributions to residents 65 and older, local government officials are honing in on the issues that still need major work before moving forward.
Hillsborough and Pinellas County’s initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines from the State of Florida has been spoken for with all appointments nearly completed Friday. Dr. Ulyee Choe with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County stated, “This is just the start. I think the one of the limiting factors here and one of the challenges is the overall vaccine supply. We have a large population and especially the 65 plus, those in the long-term care and nursing homes. At 250,000 we just don’t have the vaccines in Pinellas County to to do this next week.”
Both neighboring county officials say they’ll open up appointment scheduling when additional supplies become available from the State of Florida. Barry Burton, the Pinellas County Administrator said, “At the same time. I’m sure the state government is trying to figure out how much vaccine they’re gonna get from the federal government.” In the meantime, Pinellas County officials met Thursday to hone in on previous system failures that initially prevented residents from scheduling their vaccination. Burton said, “So these systems are being built-out that caused mass confusion and we understand the registration system’s insufficient. We’re gonna talk about that.”
Despite some similar hiccups across the bay in Hillsborough County from long wait time to issues with random ride-shares, officials tell CW44 News At 10, the state is now making decisions regarding the use of hospitals, private providers and other resources. Until then, health officials say they plan to prepare for their second round of high demand vaccinations with the anticipation of vaccine shipments hopefully rolling in soon.
The State of Florida is in its fourth week of vaccine distribution and doses have been delivered to all of Florida’s 67 county health departments and hospitals in every region across the state. As of Friday at 7 a.m., 443,616 individuals have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in Florida. To date, the state has received more than 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. The state continues to work closely with the federal government to secure additional shipments. The state is expecting to receive 250,000 additional allocations throughout next week.
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